tkitki Custom-T All Solid Curly Mango Custom Tenor Ukulele made in Japan #516 (FINAL CLEARANCE)
In 1917, Martin released a catalogue to music store, teachers and players across mainland USA that featured a ukulele for the first time. Made of mahogany, this instrument would go on to become legendary and one of the deepest roots in history we have to the popularity of ukulele today. Imagine now if you can an alternative reality where those first Pennsylvania made ukuleles had been made of figured Mango.
The earliest North-Eastern American ukuleles had a distinct flavour and quality that has been a benchmark for soprano ukuleles, talked rightfully in the same breath as the Nunes and Kamaka instruments of this small window in history - would the world be the same if Martin had used Mango? Would that distinctive Martin appeal still be there?
Well, today I played the TkiTki ukuleles for the first time and I can say without hesitation that this collection of soprano, concert and tenor mango ukuleles are the most faithful replica or perhaps more of a homage to the early Martin ukuleles that I have ever seen. It's barely a secret at this stage that Japanese brands and luthiers have been building 'Martin' style ukuleles better than Martin for many years, Kiwaya have after all been producing mahogany ukuleles for over 100 years themselves... Takumi, Imua, Kawakami, Seilen, TODA, Sumi and Naturel have one foot planted in tradition with each piece of useable art they produce.
The build quality of TkiTki ukuleles is traditional and eerily reminiscent of some museum grade instruments we have had the pleasure of playing. This tenor's finish is open pore and lightly glossed in such a way that the instrument feels both immaculate and played in. Mango can be many things to many people as a tonewood but the sound of these ukuleles is best described as aged, smoky and a real top shelf whiskey of a uke.
The soprano in the range has the delicacy of a decades old Martin style 1, the concert retains that but is slightly throatier and has brighter highs and deeper lows, whilst still sounding traditional. The tenor is elegant, head of the table and the mango acts as the perfect speaker cabinet for a smoother, richer sounding tenor. The tenor is elegant, head of the table and the mango acts as the perfect speaker cabinet for a smoother, richer sounding tenor. The perfect description of a Japanese made tenor ukulele is a lighter sound - like an enlarged concert with more tension on the strings and sustain at your finger tips.
All solid curly Hawaiian mango body
Light gloss finish, with no grain filler
Ebony fretboard and bridge
434mm scale length
36mm fretboard width at nut
Bone nut and saddle
Tortoiseshell effect binding front and back
High G clear fluorocarbon strings
Gotoh UPT planetary tuners
Curly mango faceplate
Mahogany neck, light gloss finish, shallow profile
Comes in freestyle hard case